Wim Gombert

CHAPTER 6. Chunks in writing 89 However, as Myles et al. (1998) point out, chunks of prefabricated linguistic constructions are also used and overextended by beginners, such as certain question forms, certain negative forms and certain rst-person singular forms. For instance, “ j’aime” (I like) was used as “elle j’aime le shopping” (‘she I like shopping’; likely intended meaning ‘she likes shopping’) (Myles et al., 1998). ey argue that learners may initially rely on such constructions to achieve communicative goals, but that they later learn to ‘unpack’ them and can use the components individually in novel utterances. is “unpacking” provides evidence for the emergence of grammar through chunks, in line with current Emergentist and Usage-Based theories (cf. Lewis et al., 1997, p. 211; Ellis, 1997, p. 126; Ellis, 2003; Ellis & Shintani, 2014, p. 71). As a result, it can be suggested that learners use chunks for bootstrapping purposes, meaning that they are capable of internalizing grammatical rules on the basis of these entrenched chunks (Myles et al., 1998). is is further explored by Towell (2014), who suggested that su cient exposure results in learners’ recognition of surface patterns, from which they can deduct grammatical rules. Consequently, both L1 and L2 learners can acquire grammatical rules without an overt awareness of such rules. is was indeed demonstrated by Perera (2001), who analyzed the use of prefabricated language in four Japanese learners of English between 3 and 5 years old enrolled in an English immersion program. In their early stages of language development, novel utterances were rarely formed without prefabricated chunks, and these chunks enabled the discovery of target language rules (Perera, 2001). Myles (2012) interpreted the results from Myles et al. (1998) as a demonstration that learners produce forms that may exceed linguistic competences at the time of development, enhancing Complexity, Accuracy and Fluency (CAF) measures in early learner production. is suggests that chunks and CAF measures are interrelated. Also, Piggott (2019) suggested that the use of chunks was related to some complexity measures. Piggott (2019) examined the di erence in writing skills between Focus on Form (FoF) and Focus on Meaning (FoM) instruction in 463 Dutch learners of English during their rst two years of secondary school. In the FoF condition, time was spent on explicit grammar in the L1; in the FoM condition, all grammar exercises were deleted, and students spent relatively more time on listening exercises and reading texts, so they had relatively more L2 exposure. At the end of the two years, both approaches were found to be e ective, but they had facilitated di erent language competences. e FoF group showed higher morphological accuracy levels, but the FoM group showed higher complexity and uency levels in their writing. She speculated that higher complexity and uency scores in the FoM group were related to the use of chunks as they may have led to increased subordination and coordination. is is very much in line with Myles’ (2012) suggestion that some CAF measures may be in uenced by chunk use. To summarize, ndings thus far suggest that the amount of chunk use is related to the amount of exposure a learner has had in the target language, and chunk use